No time for peace and quiet

Published 10:21pm Friday, July 12, 2013

After a whirlwind week of news, our newsroom is typically worn out, nearing burnt out and quite honestly ready for some peace and quiet — or maybe just a glass of wine. We start to ask ourselves, “Can there please just be one day of no bad news?” The answer to that question, I’m quickly finding, is typically no.

On those days when we’re so focused on chasing down stories it’s easy to forget to slow down and breathe. Sitting at my desk, tucked away in my office just off of Water Avenue I sometimes pray for a moment of calm. And more often than not, just as I’m finishing that prayer, I’ll hear sirens of pandemonium begin to wail across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, getting louder and louder as the Lord clearly answers my prayer — and it seems his answer is usally “not today.”

Sadly fires, shootings, break-ins and even deaths, are all topics I’ve had to cover on multiple occasions in the past few weeks.

Every time I’ve rushed to the scene of an accident or investigation, my veins are filled with adrenaline as I drive up to the scene, not sure of what I’ll find. And when I heard “shots fired” come across the police scanner Tuesday, that same adrenaline found its way to my heart, making me feel brave as I approached the scene of a drive-by shooting.

This time however, I saw a different side of Selma; a scary side that I hope most residents never have to see. This scene, I quickly realized, was unlike any other I had covered before. Instead of feeling the security of a fleet of officers as I walked the grounds of the property — talking to witnesses and examining the bullet hole filled window screen — I felt genuinely nervous.

The police left and I was alone with the residents. As they told me what happened, I began to absorb the emotions going through the hearts and minds of the family who’s innocence had just been violated when a drive-by shooter decided to fire a few rounds into their home. The adults told me while they felt lucky no one was injured, they were scared to stay at their own home — afraid the shooter, who has still not been found, would come back again.

Several children were riding bikes in the front yard, and when they heard some of the women in their family telling me about the gun shots, they too piped up, eager to say, “I saw a bullet go right by me,” — totally unphased.

This struck me to my core and made me long for that moment of calm. Selma should not be a place where parents and children are fearful of violence coming into their homes and safe places. Covering the news may be my job, but it does not mean I don’t feel for the victims whose lives and moments of terror land on the front page.

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